Monthly Archives: March 2012

Snapshots: Kristine Kathryn Rusch interviewed

What are you working on now?
I’m finishing my next Retrieval Artist novel, as yet unnamed. I just finished a story for a new gaming company, and I really need to write some mystery fiction Real Soon Now.

What have you recently finished?
Ooops, answered that above. I wrote a novella for Asimov’s called “Uncertainty,” which is an alternate history. I finished “Charming Blue,” last fall which is a humorous fantasy/romance under my Kristine Grayson pen name. I slowed down tremendously this past year because Dean and I inherited an estate from a friend who was a hoarder and a book collector. We’ve been wrangling that thing down to size and finally have it so that we can at least see all the items we now own. (It’s astonishing what he collected over 30 years.) I count that as writing, since it took the place of much writing.

What’s out recently or soon out?
Out now, Anniversary Day, which is the most recent Retrieval Artist novel. Also, Boneyards, the latest Diving Universe novel. (Both of these are sf.) A pen name space opera romance, Assassins in Love, written under the name Kris DeLake. And lots of short stories.

What’s your typical writing day?
I get up, answer e-mails/check blogs/read the news (I can’t say newspapers any more), then write at least 1,000 words, exercise, write another 1,000 words, have lunch, write another 1,000 words, cook dinner, write some more, and then read. I watch about an hour of TV, and I do answer e-mails along the way. But my e-mail accounts are only on one computer two floors away from my writing computer, so I can’t waste time answering e-mail instead of writing. It keeps me productive. That’s a typical day.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?
WMG Publishing has released all of my Retrieval Artist books, which is the first time they’ve all been in print at the same time. I’m thrilled by that. There are also some novellas in the series that only appeared in Analog, and they’re available as e-books. Eventually, all of the RA novels and novellas will be available in print as well, probably later this year. Also, my Fey novels are all in print again–including 4 that never got released in the UK. So I’m pleased about that as well.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?
Oh, there are so many! I think every sf fan should read Allen Steele and Jack McDevitt, as well as Stephen Baxter. Lightspeed and Asimov’s are both doing great things in the short fiction field at the moment. Elizabeth Hand has a new mystery novel out worth reading, and the new Stephen King is spectacular. Lots of great writers bypassing traditional publishers and going direct to e-books. Rather than go through a huge list here, folks should check out my website: www.kristinekathrynrusch.com, and hit the Recommended Reading button. I post a new list every month, and often point out good short fiction (published indie or traditional) as I find it.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?
I blog specifically about the future of publishing every Thursday and have done so for years now. That’s on my blog as well. The short answer is this: The future of publishing is in flux. The future is bright for writers smart enough to publish indie. Less bright for writers who remain in traditional publishing. Traditional publishing is running scared right now (and it should–it has a lot of bad business practices) and will hurt writers with bad contracts and bad reporting until things settle down, four or five years from now.

The future of reading is the brightest of all. Not only are more people reading, but thanks to e-readers, more people have access to books. (You don’t need to live near a bookstore to get the book you want.) Plus writers can put their backlists into print now without the help of traditional publishing, so there’s more to read than ever before. It’s wonderful and a bit overwhelming.

More…

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an internationally bestselling author. She writes under a variety of names, including Kris Nelscott for mystery, Kris DeLake, Kristine Grayson and Kristine Dexter for romance, and of course, Kristine Kathryn Rusch for sf/f. She’s won awards in all her genres, and her books–diverse as they are–all have hit bestseller lists. She’s also known as a short fiction writer. Her short work has appeared in more than twenty best of the year collections, and won more awards than she’s willing to count.

Kris wrote the chapter ‘Alternate History: Worlds Of What If‘ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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Iain Rowan’s Nowhere to Go shortlisted for a Spinetingler award

Great to see Iain Rowan’s rather good collection of crime and suspense fiction, Nowhere to Go, shortlisted for Best Short Story Collection over at Spinetingler magazine.

Nowhere to Go by Iain RowanIt’s very easy for good books to get lost in all the noise of e-publishing, and it’s common – and, to be fair, quite reasonable, based on the statistics – for reviewers and award-givers to assume the worst and overlook ebooks. It’s very much to the Spinetingler team’s credit that they considered and shortlisted Iain’s book, and yet another significant achievement in the career of a writer who deserves far more attention (it sounds silly to say that of a writer who has won a Derringer award for a story included in Nowhere to Go, and been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger for his novel One of Us, but he should certainly be getting commercial attention to match the critical success).

To coincide with publication of One of Us in March 2012 we’ve given Nowhere to Go a new cover; you’ll also notice that it’s a wraparound cover – the collection will be getting a much-deserved first print edition very soon, which we’re very excited about.

On a personal note, it’s been a delight to work with Iain. Editing and producing Nowhere to Go was that rare experience where I found myself prolonging a piece of work because I was enjoying the fiction so much; similarly, when working on One of Us I found exactly the same thing happening.

Here’s hoping that what we’ve done at infinity plus is just one step in the process of Iain becoming a hugely successful and award-winning (again) writer!

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New: One of Us, a CWA Debut Dagger shortlisted novel by Iain Rowan

One of Us by Iain RowanAnna is one of the invisible people. She fled her own country when the police murdered her brother and her father, and now she serves your food, cleans your table, changes your bed, and keeps the secrets of her past well hidden.

When she used her medical school experience to treat a man with a gunshot wound, Anna thought it would be a way to a better life. Instead, it leads to a world of people trafficking, prostitution, murder and the biggest decision of Anna’s life: how much is she prepared to give up to be one of us?

Shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award, One of Us is a novel by award-winning writer Iain Rowan.


BUY NOW:

CreateSpace (paperback $11.99)
Amazon US (paperback $11.99)
…Amazon UK (coming soon: paperback $11.99)
amazon.com (Kindle format, $2.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £1.99)

Nowhere to Go by Iain RowanTo tie in with the launch of One of Us, Iain’s highly-praised collection of crime and suspense fiction, Nowhere to Go, has been given a new cover.

Praise for Iain Rowan’s Nowhere to Go:

“Fine examples of modern crime stories, gripping and perceptive, probing the dark secrets of the human soul, just like an old Alfred Hitchcock movie… Crime enthusiasts must not miss the book: this is noir at its very best.”
SF Site featured review

“During the five years that I published Hardluck Stories, One Step Closer and Moth were two of my favorite stories. I loved the nuances and true heartfelt emotion that Iain filled his stories with, and Iain quickly became a must read author for me–everything I read of Iain’s had this tragic, and sometimes, horrific beauty filling it, and was guaranteed to be something special.”
— Dave Zeltserman, author of Outsourced, and Washington Post best books of year Small Crimes and Pariah

“A short story writer of the highest calibre.”
— Allan Guthrie, author of Top Ten Kindle Bestseller Bye Bye Baby, winner of Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year

“Iain Rowan’s stories never fail to surprise and delight, and just when you think you know what will happen next, you realize how much you’ve been caught unaware.”
— Sarah Weinman, writer, critic, reviewer, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and News Editor for Publishers Marketplace

“Iain Rowan is both a meticulous and a passionate writer, and these stories showcase his ample talent wonderfully well. You owe it to yourself to discover Rowan’s fiction if you haven’t already had the pleasure.”
— Jeff Vandermeer, author of Finch, Shriek: An Afterword, City of Saints and Madmen; two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award

“Every story in this collection is a gem… classy and clever Brit Grit at its best.”
— Paul D Brazill at Death By Killing


Snapshots: Justina Robson interviewed

What are you working on now?
Two hard SF short stories and two novels: one is a kind of post-tech space opera and the other is a space opera romance from an idea I basically nicked off Tricia Sullivan but don’t tell anyone that part.

What have you recently finished?
Shh…don’t ask that!

What’s recently or soon out?
I’ll be in this year’s Technology Review SF collection, all being well, and I am writing a short piece for ARC, the new magazine edited by Simon Ings.

Describe your typical writing day.
Mess about on any of the following for a couple of hours: email, facebook, twitter, Star Wars The Old Republic. Do domestic chores badly. Exercise for half an hour at some point in the morning. Make cup of tea no 5. Open up writing projects. Feel the usual cocktail of fear and resistance. Distract self by reading something. Start writing. Get stuck. Switch project. Repeat writing process from cocktail point. Manage a few hundred words. Late at night manage some more. Thousands of words on a good day. Tens of words on a really bad day. Read something. Write some more later.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?
Living Next Door To The God of Love. Just because I like it.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?
Tricia Sullivan, Nalini Singh, Ellen Kushner, Geoff Ryman, Adam Roberts

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?
Don’t critically compare your writing to other people’s. Study their work and learn from it, then do your own thing.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?
Publishing will still be making paper books and ebooks will be a large market on various devices. I expect a lot of authors will sell to publishers and also self publish on eformats as well. I don’t know what readers will read but given the e-devices’ ability to conceal completely the nature of what one is reading I would hope people will venture into a greater diversity of reading – so that for instance very highly gendered artwork choices on cover art will no longer be a put-off.

More…

Justina Robson writes SF and Fantasy in varying degrees of toughness, hardness, softness, squidginess and other -nesses. She enjoys keeping up with popular science and roleplaying games in which she can pretend to be all the things she presently isn’t. She has two children and a grumpy, idle cat which covers the house in hair and has just destroyed her last computer by throwing up into the airvent and thus onto the mainboard.

Justina wrote the chapter ‘Aliens: our selves and others’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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Snapshots: James Patrick Kelly interviewed

What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel, bits of which have already been published:  “Going Deep” (Asimov’s, June, 2009) “Plus or Minus” (Asimov’s, December 2010) and “Tourists” (Eclipse Four edited by Jonthan Strahan, Night Shade Books, May, 2011). Some of these were nominated for awards and appeared in Best of the Year collections, so there’s some pressure to make sure that the end is up to snuff. I made a vow to myself a long time ago that I would never write another fix-up novel, but since then I haven’t had the impulse to write a novel of any sort. So I’m breaking my vow here – and good riddance!

What have you recently finished?

Two longish stories: one in an odd place and the other in a familiar one. I wrote an online novelette called “The Biggest” which went live on Angry Robot’s WorldBuilder site in early January. It’s a superhero story, a companion piece to Adam Christopher’s new novel Empire State. Meanwhile back in DeadTreeLand, my novella “The Last Judgment” is the cover story of the current issue of Asimov’s.

What’s recently or soon out?

See above. I finished the “The Biggest” just days before it was posted! Also, John Kessel and I just turned in a new anthology to Tachyon called Digital Rapture: The Singularity Anthology. It’s scheduled for August.

Describe your typical writing day.

I wake up. I eat breakfast. I drink too much coffee and waste too much time puttering around the web. Around 9ish I sit down at the keyboard. Around noonish I eat lunch. Around 1ish, I’m back. Around 4ish I quit. However, there are days when I don’t write much because I have teaching responsibilities. I’m on the faculty of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. Also, when I am very close – or very late! – on a project, I will often return to my office and work late into the evening to try to catch up.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?

A couple of stories are personal favorites: “The Pyramid of Amirah” and “Men Are Trouble”. You can hear podcasts of them at http://freereads.blogspot.com/ along with a lot of other fine Kelly fiction.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?

John Kessel obviously. How about three former students who are doing wonders? Will McIntosh, Will Ludwigsen and Sandra McDonald. Oh, and I am really, really psyched about Hannu Rajaniemi.

I know that it’s self-serving to type this, but it’s your blog and my answer, so who’s going to stop me? I really, really like this new book http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Divisions-Alien-Territories-Sub-Genres/dp/0230249671

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?

I wrote this last year for a Locus Roundtable and it’s still true:

A former student of mine, Eljay Daly, who graduated from both Viable Paradise and Stonecoast, was interviewed the other day on the Underwords blog’s New Writer Spotlight. Asked the most important lesson she had learned at these various programs, she wrote something that I now have tacked up beside my desk. “If I have to narrow it down to one, I guess it would be ‘Writing teaches writing.’ Keep trying. If my system isn’t working, try another system. If the story I’m working on is lousy, finish it anyway, then write another one.” I don’t remember saying anything quite so smart; Eljay figured that out all on her own. But as I read it, a heavenly choir began to sing.

Writing teaches writing. That is all we know and all we need to know.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?

In ten years, DeadTreeLand will be in steep decline but it will never disappear completely. 83.328% of all publishing will be electronic. You’ll be able to fold Epads like sheets of paper and cram them into your shirt pocket. Also, Google Goggles will be everywhere. As to what readers will read, who knows? They’ll have at least a chance to read me … I intend to keep typing unless Martin Lewis shows up to break my fingers.

More…

James Patrick Kelly has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, plays and planetarium shows. His short novel Burn won the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula Award in 2007. He has won the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award twice: in 1996, for his novelette “Think Like A Dinosaur” and in 2000, for his novelette, “Ten to the Sixteenth to One.” His fiction has been translated into eighteen languages. With John Kessel he is co-editor of Digital Rapture; The Singularity Anthology, Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka, The Secret History Of Science Fiction, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology and Rewired: The Post Cyberpunk Anthology. His most recent publishing venture is the ezine James Patrick Kelly’s Strangeways. His website is www.jimkelly.net.

Jim wrote the chapter ‘Who Owns Cyberpunk?’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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New from infinity plus: Ghostwriting by Eric Brown

Ghostwriting by Eric BrownOver the course of a career spanning twenty five years, Eric Brown has written just a handful of horror and ghost stories – and all of them are collected here.

They range from the gentle, psychological chiller “The House” to the more overtly fantastical horror of “Li Ketsuwan”, from the contemporary science fiction of “The Memory of Joy” to the almost-mainstream of “The Man Who Never Read Novels”. What they have in common is a concern for character and gripping story-telling.

Ghostwriting is Eric Brown at his humane and compelling best.

How to buy Ghostwriting

Available in various ebook formats or a rather nice trade paperback.

print edition:
CreateSpace (trade paperback, $11.99; this option gives the best royalty to the author)
Amazon US (trade paperback, $11.99)
…Amazon UK (coming soon)

ebook edition:
amazon.com (Kindle format, $2.99)
amazon.co.uk (Kindle format, £1.99)
Smashwords (various formats, including epub, mobi, Sony and PDF, $2.99)


Snapshots: James Lovegrove interviewed

What are you working on now? 

I’m nearing the end of work on Redlaw: Red Eye, the sequel to my vampire novel Redlaw which came out at the end of last year. This takes the central character on from his original role as a man policing vampire immigrants, transplants him from the UK to the US, and shows how he is coming to terms with his new role as a defender (rather than persecutor) of vampires. It’s a tough, fast-paced suspense story featuring a squad of partially-vampirised supersoldiers and plentiful gunplay and bloodletting.

What have you recently finished? 

Before I started work on Red Eye, I completed a novella, Age Of Anansi, which is about to be released in ebook-only format. It focuses on the African spider trickster god and all the other trickster gods of folklore and religion as they come together for a once-in-a-generation trick-playing contest. The outcome of this contest can often be fatal, so the stakes are high. I had a ball writing it. I like the novella length since you can do almost everything with it that you can do in a full-length novel but you can also dispense with subplot and suchlike, just get right down to the core of the story and keep it thumping along at a gallop. The plan is to release one of these Age Of… e-novellas to accompany each forthcoming Age Of… novel, and then, once I’ve done three of them, put them out in a paper-form omnibus.

What’s recently or soon out? 

Age Of Aztec is due imminently. That’s the fourth in the series, and it’s about Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, Huitzilopochtli and co., the Aztec pantheon whose names are so long and ornate they could make your spellchecker explode. It’s by far the bloodiest of the Pantheon novels, and the most apoclayptic, taking place in a world where the brutal Aztec empire wasn’t crushed by the equally brutal Spanish conquistadors with their Christianity and their smallpox-laced blankets, but instead has grown and expanded to become a world-spanning concern, maintaining its rule through fear, intimidation and regular wholesale human sacrifice. The book is set in the year 2012, and the plot ties in to the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which of course predicts that time is coming to an end this December. So people should buy a copy of the book now, while they still can…

I also have a teen novel and a children’s novel out shortly, respectively Warsuit 1.0 (about a boy who half-accidentally commandeers the heavily armed robot exo-skeleton his scientist father has been building) and The Black Phone (about a pair of young detectives who solve mysteries at their school and in their hometown). Both, fingers crossed, will turn into ongoing series.

Describe your typical writing day. 

I start work around 8.45, having walked #1 son to school. I spend the morning writing a few pages longhand – yes, longhand, with pen and paper – with my cat Ozzy sitting snoring next to me. Then, around midday, I transfer the morning’s work onto the computer and tinker with the text for another couple of hours. I can’t write fiction straight onto the screen. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m of a generation where pen and paper was all we had, and I like the directness and immediacy of that process, complete with all the scribbly crossings-out and careted insertions. It’s more – I’m going to use the word “organic” here – organic than keyboard and screen. Also, what with Facebook and other online distractions, I’d most likely not get anything done if I spent the entire day at the computer. And my eyes would fall out of my head, too.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?

I favour two of my older novels, mainly because they’re the two I’m most satisfied with, the two where I seemed to get my point across best: Days and Provender Gleed. They are the early work I’m proudest of and, as a contributing factor to my pride, the ones that received the greatest acclaim at the time. I also have a fondness for my double-novella Gig, just because it came out almost exactly as conceived and because all the elements (the palindromes, the “Ace double” back-to-back aspect, the desire to write a rock music story that works) really seemed to gel.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug? 

I’m going to duck this question somewhat, in that I’ll have a huge, brief enthusiasm for a certain author which then gets superceded by an equally huge, brief enthusiasm for another author. I have real reading ADHD, so who I’m enjoying right now will shortly, inevitably be replaced by someone else. In other words, you’d only be getting a snapshot of my current taste, which is bound to change. But I’ll always look forward to something new from Eric Brown, and I have a penchant for Jonathan Maberry’s uber-violent stuff and I’m glad, too, that Kim Newman is getting back into fiction after a longish hiatus.

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be? 

For God’s sake don’t do it! Find yourself a proper job! But if you must become a writer, if you insist on doing it, talent is one thing, ambition another, but the greatest attribute you can have, the one that matters above all else, is persistence. There are very few overnight successes in publishing, and the people who hit big early on tend to be the people who fade away quickly and are never heard from again. Also, if you want to survive, especially in today’s market where everything seems to be in freefall and nobody knows what’s going to happen next, think commercial and original. It’s the only way to be. Work out what sells and try and bring something new but true to that particular table. People will then surely sit up and take notice.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading? 

Yeah, you’d like me to say, like Private Frazer, that we’re all doomed, doooomed! But we’re not. E-publishing is definitely the coming thing and will, I imagine, account for the vast majority of book sales in future. The issue of file-sharing is a knotty one. I mean, obviously selling someone else’s work via an unlicensed website and not paying them for it is an infringement of copyright and punishable by law, but that’s not going to deter some people. However, I believe there’s a majority of honest punters out there who don’t mind paying a decent whack for their books, safe in the knowledge that money is going to the creator, because they understand that if the demand for free or ridiculously cheap rip-off stuff continues, the supply will eventually dry up and the medium will die. I also believe – and this is me speaking as someone who refuses to allow an e-reader of any kind anywhere near his house – that ye olde-fashioned paper books will continue to be a viable product and bookstores will continue to be a feature of our high streets. Books have survived everything that’s been thrown at them for hundreds of years, and they are the perfect delivery format for the “software”. So, basically, I’m pretty optimistic. Which, in my experience, is a surefire recipe for disaster.

More…

James Lovegrove was born on Christmas Eve 1965 and is the author of over 37 books. His novels include The Hope, Days, Untied Kingdom, Provender Gleed, the New York Times bestselling Pantheon series (The Age Of Ra, The Age Of Zeus, The Age Of Odin), and Redlaw, the first volume in a trilogy about a policeman charged with protecting humans from vampires and vice versa.

In addition he has sold more than 40 short stories, the majority of them gathered in two collections, Imagined Slights and Diversifications. He has written a four-volume fantasy saga for teenagers, The Clouded World (under the pseudonym Jay Amory), and has produced a dozen short books for readers with reading difficulties, including Wings, Kill Swap, Free Runner, Dead Brigade, and the 5 Lords Of Pain series.

James has been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the British Fantasy Society Award and the Manchester Book Award. His short story “Carry The Moon In My Pocket” won the 2011 Seiun Award in Japan for Best Translated Short Story.

James’s work has been translated into twelve languages. His journalism has appeared in periodicals as diverse as Literary Review, Interzone and BBC MindGames, and he is a regular reviewer of fiction for the Financial Times and contributes features and reviews about comic books to the magazine Comic Heroes.

He lives with his wife, two sons and cat in Eastbourne, a town famously genteel and favoured by the elderly, but in spite of that he isn’t planning to retire just yet.

James wrote the chapter ‘The World of the End of the World: apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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Snapshots: Adam Roberts interviewed

What are you working on now?

I’ve spent February doing lots of little things that have accumulated, as little things tend to do. That means: I’ve written a couple of short stories that were commissioned by people for collections, an academic-y essay; I’ve pulled together and titivated a collection of SF essays and reviews to be published by Newcon press, things like that. Clearing the decks, really. Soon I will start work on a new novel. Provisionally I’m calling it The Earthly Paradise, and it’s a utopia.

What have you recently finished?
I’m doing a collaboration with the most excellent Mahendra Singh, a Canadian artist and illustrator, whose Snark website should be in everybody’s feed. I recently finished writing my half of the collaboration, a sort-of 21st-century Verneian novel called Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea. Mahendra is illustrating it.

What’s recently or soon out?
My next novel is Jack Glass (Gollancz 2012), due out in the summer. You can see the, rather nifty, cover-art here: http://www.gollancz.co.uk/2012/02/jack-glass-cover-reveal/

The novel is my attempt as a clever-as-a-sputnik-full-of-monkeys Golden Age whodunnit, set in a space operatic future. The narrator tells you who the murderer is at the beginning of the tale; you read the story and eventually the identity of the murderer is revealed. If I’ve done it right, the revelation of the murderer’s identity should be a surprise. That, at least, was the challenge I set myself. To do that. Three times, one after the other. (Three times because I wanted to write one locked-room mystery, one classic whodunnit and one prison story – though all three tie-together into one overarching novel narrative). At any rate, that’s what I was aiming for. You can tell me, when the book comes out, if it works or not.

Describe your typical writing day.
I drop the kids at school/nursery, go to the local Costa, buy the biggest black coffee they sell, sit at a table, open my laptop, fire up my iPod (I find writing in silence very hard; it’s inviting that little sneery voice in my head that goes “well that wasn’t a very good sentence, was it” to heckle me) and write. I’ll do that until lunch. Writing involves two stages: first you have to get it written, then you have to get it right. Revision, proofing, other bits and pieces happen in the afternoon. But the core of what I do is the brute generation of prose via mystical communion with coffee and seclusion. My laptop is not internet enabled, for the www is a big distraction. And that’s why I find it hard to write at home: too many distractions – ironing to do, tidying, Loose Women to watch on the telly and so on. Better to remove myself entirely from that world.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?
I think my last three novels have been my best, by quite a long chalk. Although there are many people who don’t agree.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?
Tricky question, this: lots of very good writers deserve a plug. I’ll tell you what: I’m going to limit myself to mentioning the books I have recently read: Paul McAuley’s In The Mouth of the Whale has a Bach-like complexity and austerity: extremely good. Al Reynolds hardly needs a plug, but his Blue Remembered Earth is splendid. More people should read Kameron Hurley’s God’s War; not flawless but rather brilliant. I’ve just been reading a book in MS, something Nightshade are publishing later this year (I think): E J Swift’s Osiris – the fact that it’s her first novel is belied by how accomplished and well-written it is. I was sent it to blurb, and I’m really enjoying it: somewhere between Gormenghast and DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. And one final thing: I’ve been re-reading Beowulf for a thing I have to do and by gum it’s good. Beowulf deserves a plug, I think. Plugowulf. Beoplug.

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?
I shall offer three, a bronze, a silver and a golden rule. The bronze is: write every day. The silver is: finish what you start. And the gold is: SHOW, DON’T TELL! Sheesh!

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?

That is an easy question! Readers will be reading e-books. Writers will be writing them, and publishers selling them (though, probably, for less than they charge today; which means writers will have to write more, or settle for less remuneration). The market will buck about a bit for three or four years, as the tea-clipper of Traditional Publishing negotiates the maelstrom of technical advance, but then it will settle down. Publishers exist because readers need people (more specifically: they need people who love books) to intermediate their relationship with writing. That’s not going to change.

More…

Adam Roberts is the author of a steadily growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. In addition to all this he is a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, teaching English Literature and Creative Writing.

Adam wrote the chapter ‘Does God need a starship? Science fiction and religion’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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Snapshots: Tony Ballantyne interviewed

What’s recently or soon out?
My short story “The War Artist” which originally appeared in Further Conflicts (ed Ian Whates) will soon be out in the Years Best SF 17 (ed Hartwell and Cramer). It’s a loose follow on from “Third Person” that appeared in YBSF 13. I do have an idea for some more shorts set in that world.

Describe your typical writing day.
I don’t really have one. I write whenever I get the opportunity, something that seems to happen less and less nowadays. I’ve long been in the habit of having things planned out in my mind so that I can just get on when I have the opportunity. One big change I’ve made in the past year or so is to switch to emacs for writing. It’s a text editor rather than a word processor, but I find it more useful for planning and keeping my ideas where I can find them.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?
Blood and Iron, my last book. I think it was the best thing I’ve written.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?
I’ve been plugging Chris Beckett for years. His latest book, Dark Eden, is excellent.

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?
Practise, practise, practise.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?
I think writers will be making a living doing other jobs. That’s already the reality today and has been for a long time. As for what form that work will take, well, electronic obviously. There will be self published work, but there will still be publishers. I suspect that in the long run the publishers will be the likes of Apple, Amazon and Facebook – or whoever comes to take their place.

Desert Island Books… Name ten books you’d want to have with you if you were marooned on a desert island.
I hate the thought of having to read the same ten books over and over! I’d probably take some textbooks so I could learn something new. Maybe some music if I was marooned with a piano. I’d try and master the 48 preludes and fugues.

In Strange Divisions and Alien Territories you write about posthumans. In a nutshell, what might come next for our kind?
War, famine, plague… a return to medieval times. That’s what you get when societies rate media studies higher than engineering.

More…

Tony Ballantyne grew up in north-east England and now lives in Oldham with his wife and two children. His short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies worldwide. He has also written romantic fiction and satirical pieces for various non-SF magazines. His first novel, Recursion, was published by Tor UK in 2004 and, most recently, his fifth, Blood and Iron, appeared in 2010.

Tony wrote the chapter ‘Just passing through: journeys to the post-human’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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New: infinity plus singles, 16-20

Just out from infinity plus, the latest batch of infinity plus singles:

Pilots of the Purple Twilight by Kit Reed Pilots of the Purple Twilight
by Kit Reed ($0.99/£0.77)
infinity plus singles #16 [Mar 2012]The wives spent every day by the pool – this was where the men had left them, after all. A moving, incisive story that gets right under your skin from an author whose prose style has been described as “pure dry ice” by The New York Times Book Review.

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Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop by Garry Kilworth Memories of the Flying Ball Bike Shop
by Garry Kilworth ($0.99/£0.77)
infinity plus singles #17 [Mar 2012]Understand the one you hate. What did the old Chinese man smoke? He smoked his enemy, and when he had smoked the hated man he would know him. “The best short story writer in any genre” (New Scientist).

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All the Little Gods We Are by John Grant All the Little Gods We Are
by John Grant ($0.99/£0.77)
infinity plus singles #18 [Mar 2012]A moving tale by award-winning author John Grant about a man discovering that somehow the story of his past has been written all wrong. A superbly measured fantasy about loss, and sorrow, and the pain of dealing with past passions.

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Closet Dreams by Lisa Tuttle Closet Dreams
by Lisa Tuttle ($0.99/£0.77)
infinity plus singles #19 [Mar 2012]”Something terrible happened to me when I was a little girl…” So begins this extraordinary, International Horror Guild Award-winning  tale of abduction, survival and escape from the author Stephen Jones has called “a major force in macabre fiction.”

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Fear of Widths by David D Levine Fear of Widths
by David D Levine ($0.99/£0.77)
infinity plus singles #20 [Mar 2012]Home for his parents’ funeral … all the familiar, yet unfamiliar, things. And the horizon. How could he have forgotten the horizon? Mind-bending fiction from a Hugo-winning author.

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